What I read: Luke 13
Observations: It’s probably easy to pile on the Pharisees and religious leaders, but it honestly bothers me that they are so much more concerned about the keeping of the Sabbath than the healing of the woman who had been disabled for 18 years. Jesus seems bothered by it as well, and the way he asks the question is brilliant. They would take care of an animal on the Sabbath because that has to be done and the animal can’t care for itself, but they would refuse to even help a woman, created in the image of God, a daughter of Abraham who had been sick for 18 years? Their rituals are in the way of their obedience to God, and their focus on the minutiae has caused them to miss the major themes of the whole law. They are, I think, in the words of the parable that just precedes this story – a barren fig tree that should be bearing fruit, but isn’t.
Application: Lately I have noticed that I tend to be a person who deals with tasks first and people second. It’s not that I’m not relational, but that I tend to look at what needs to be done first before I look at who I am working with, and that seems opposite of what Jesus teaches and demonstrates here. He’s more concerned about the woman than he is even about the fact that he is going to heal her. His focus is not on “what” but “who”. I needed that reminder today to keep myself connected to the “whos” in my life rather than the “whats”. My friend Nick always says that you should process relationship before task, so I really want to work on living that out in my life.
Prayer: God I pray today that you would help me see the people around me the way that you see them. I don’t want to look past their needs to only see the tasks that need to be done, but I want to see them as they are in that moment, with their hopes, their dreams, their sicknesses, their failures – all of it – and be moved and concerned about them. Help me to see who I’m working with before I move right to the task that we need to accomplish. Help me to slow down, and let go of some of the things I think need to get done in order to truly get to know people in my life – with those closest to home like family and friends, as well as those I’m responsible for leading in the church. Let me not become a distant leader, but one who is personal and present with the people I’m called to serve.